Thursday, 30 June 2011


No new toy stories today.  It was very hot this afternoon and rather than heat up my house by baking, it seemed smarter to just wait for a cool and rainy day.  

My new toy is a flour mill that attaches to my mixer.  It a big behemoth of a thing, and I can't wait to try it, but I know that if I ill my wheat now, I will have to take great care not to let it go rancid.  So I shall wait for a cool day.  But then, look out.  I'll play to  my hearts content.

So instead I knit.  A little on the Shetland Shawl.  I finished the sleeves on the funky sweater.  I knit a little on the pink Icarus.  The afternoon ended with no significant progress with any single thing.   

It was just one of those days.  By evening we had a series of massive thunderstorms go over and over and over.  Like ripples, there was always a period of calm in between crests of storm. 

I love storms.  Their power, their might is a reminder that we are small in the scheme of things.  I find that comforting, knowing that we are small.  It makes our human failings lose some of their horror.  If we are small, maybe our failings are too.  I love storms.      

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Travel tales

Yesterday, one of my knitting group members returned after a back to basics trip to Estonia. Her tales of the trip were fantastic. What an experience my friend had. I could have listened for hours.    

Needless to say, not a lot of knitting was done.  I made errors on the band of Aethercopter.  

It's a simple band that tops off the bud lace body of this flowing shawl. The self finishing band, with its decreases at each edge and increases at the sides of the two center stitches, has a distinct curve to it.  That curve provides the drape and flow.  You can see the clearly defined spine in the picture.  Should be easy, but I tried it twice and came up with the same silly error each time.  Obviously, memory failed me.  I went to get the pattern, and oops.  The e-reader was not in the bag.  No pattern.  Out came the pink laceweight Icarus, which looks as it did the last time its picture was taken, just a few rows larger. Always carry 2 projects.

When I got home, my mind remained on the travel stories and it seemed only right to pick up the Shetland Shawl with its traditional feel.  Stories of traditional knitting inspired me. Back to a small chart and borders while dinner cooked.  There was a problem on the last corners turn but once that was corrected, smooth sailing.  So smooth and rhythmic, that almost a quarter of the side was done.  Hmmm... A quick glance at the clock and a dash to take dinner of the BBQ.  Almost to the point of no return, but not quite!  
Anyway, back tot the garden in the cool of the morning and then perhaps, this afternoon, I will play with a new toy.  Not a knitting toy! More tomorrow.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

It's the little things

Its the little things that come up in conversation.  Yesterday morning I went spinning.  My friend is just back from a full weekend of classes at Olds. I gleaned what may well be the most important piece of information from her  new found knowledge.

She was saying she was a soft spinner.  I have always worried about with my own work.  Each time I ply, it gets so much softer than I would like.  I have had people look at my spun singles on the bobbin and they usually say it looks OK, but I still had no way of judging for myself, no way getting a really good idea of what the finished product is going to look like.  

And then my friend showed me how they sampled during class, and therein I found my answer.  It probably isn't something longtime spinners would ever consider telling a newbie like me.  They might consider it self evident, but to a newbie like me, everything is important. It isn't even that I wasn't doing it, it was the amount I was doing it to that makes the difference.  Scale matters, it seems.

I've finally filled this bobbin

which means, I have finished half the fibre.  Before I move forward, it will all be spun again to have more twist added to it. Its a fine sinlge and fine means there has to be good twist to get a strong fibre.  Adding twist won't take very long.  

Then it will be off to the races with the second half of the fibre.  It will be interesting to see if I can get the right amount of twist into it the first time round.  

Just like knowing how to pick up stitches and how to correct errors without taking everything apart gives confidence and comfort to my knitting, this simple change to what I was doing, means my spinning can move forward to a place of confidence.  Its the little things.

Off again to the garden of weedin'.  Its going to take a good long while.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Well, there you have it.

There you have it.  Fridays question about yarn was answered.

Once the back was done, it was clear I was going to be short of the rich ruby yarn.  I had only 1 and a half  skeins left and 2 sleeves and all the ribbing to be done from it.  Almost enough, but not quite.  So I put plan B into effect.  

I had plenty Big Fabel left.  It would have been easy to do stripes, but that wouldn't have been in the modular spirit of this sweater.  It had to be intarisa.  I love the play of the patterned yarn off the rich red, so it was easy to see how this had to go.  The red part of the sleeve was to go to the front and the patterned part would play off the pure red back. So, there you have it. 

And 'there you have it' again when this sweater answers another niggling question. Is there any sweater besides Liesl that I could knit in a very short time?  Not a big question, but you never know when you need to know this about yourself.

I can knit a sweater in a week. With sufficient inspiration that is.  One week is still a couple of days away and when this photo was taken, I had just one sleeve to go.  Now I have just a half a sleeve to go and even if I hardly knit at all, it will be done. 

Had I knit each part of this sweater only once, I would have finished yesterday morning.  But no.  No.  The back had 1 significant re-knit and one slightly lesser re-knit (back to the short rows and then back to the sleeves) and the first sleeve cap had 4, yes 4 re-knits.

That first re-knit was to fix the stitch count.  The second was to try a different shaping, the third was after I let it sit overnight so I could think a good long while about  the sleeve cap shape and the 4th was after I realized that the patterning was facing the front when I meant it to face the back.

The only reason this knitting happened at all?  Rain, spread out just enough so I could not get out to weed at all since these rains began.  Since last week Wednesday the farm had 4.5 inches of rain (give or take a 10th), an extraordinary amount for the prairies.  

The thought occurs to me that all I really need to knit a sweater in a week is a lot of rain. 

Friday, 24 June 2011

Pretty Colours

Pretty colours.  That is what I am playing with.  

I spent a good part of the afternoon digging through the stash for a particular red, the Ruby skeins of Cascade 220.  I had a strong feeling that it was the perfect red for with this funky sock mix.   

I may have to find one more skein.  Even with my recent 'gee I hardly used any yarn' experiences, I am pretty sure I can't make the back and two long sleeves with a mere 600 metres of yarn.  I think it is going to take just a little more.  

I have been trying to figure out how I can use some of the mixed yarn on the back and the sleeves. I know that I can use some on the ribbing, but I don't think that will make enough of a difference. 

Anyway, I have a little time to ponder it.  Knitting isn't going to happen till much later.  Its weeding day at the garden and that is going to take a while.  With the recent rains we have had, a very good long while.        

Thursday, 23 June 2011


Ever since I finished the red sweater and finished the colourwork on the Lichen vest, my fingers have been restless.  I have not been ready to cut the steeks for the vest.  I want to leave that for after my garden is weeded.

With restless fingers I have been playing around with several things. Some more swatching has gone on, but mostly I have been playing with Big Fabel.  I have 8 skeins of red.  I really like this yarn for socks, but it also seemed to me that Big Fabel might be able to do something like this but in an adult size.

And it is!
And somehow, between laundry dishes and other household chores, I knit the front of the sweater.  Not quite sure how that happened, but it happened.

Itchy fingers.  Got to love it when that happens.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011


It isn't what I call dry, but it is dry enough to lift up off the mats and take some photos of.  

A very long time ago, I saw a really cute little vest with a fold back ribbed collar in a Noro Mini Knits book.  If I could tell you which one it was, I would.  I started thinking about it again after I finished my Seaglass vest.  That, too, had a fold back collar.  

And then there is the ever present Featherweight Cardigan.  So many of my knitting friends have been working on those.  That wide simple collar and classic simple lines.  My wardrobe could use a new light weight sweater. 

Featherweight has a few things I don't like about it.  It has raglan sleeves and I think a set in sleeve looks much nicer particularly in fine yarns.  Its very straight line from shoulder to hem on the fronts, is a bit of an issue.  With my narrower shoulders and wider everything else, I'm not so sure that a straight line will work.  

I'm left in my usual country.  I have to understand a shape and what adjustments will be needed before I can knit the vision in my head.  

So that is what I did.  In my Ravelry project, I called this one Testing, because that is exactly what I did.  I tested.  I tested what leaving the fronts straight looked like. Not ideal.  When you leave them straight, they fall so far off to the side, that any collar work you do is immaterial.  I tried it again, and added width. I added it high and too fast and then tried again adding it long and low slow.  More than just tracking rows and stitches, I learned just where a garment with simple shaping like this should fall across my frontage.  I know just what I would aim for, should I ever get around to knitting a Featherweight.  

After all that testing, and then knitting the collar I saw so long ago, I end up with this.
This is kitchen knitting at its best.  It was knit between putting water on and waiting for it to boil.  It was knit while waiting to flip the food on the grill.  This is a sweater of minutes.  I've only had 2 days, one earlier in May and last Saturday, where it was the core of my knitting day.  One day was devoted to making the sweater long enough, and the other, to making it longer still and doing all the ribbing.  

The ends have been woven in and I have some hidden chunky hook and eye closures to attach, so close to complete.  It is just what I wanted.  Warm but not overwhelming.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Yarn stuff

OK, still no knitting.  The kitchen knitting is looking great but is still to damp for photos  I have moved it to dry right on top of the dehumidifier.  Hah, dampness.  Take that.

But do not despair.  I have some lovely stuff.  I stopped at Custom Woolen Mills the other day.  There was a sale bin.  Be still my beating heart. I delved.  I dug. 

The cones are sock wieights.  One full cone of red singles, and partial cones of singles in green and navy.  The white is a very fine 2 ply.  They are soft and lovely and make my fingers want to sing. 

The other skeins of mulespun have a purpose.  I have long needed more of the soft alpaca blend for the shawl I envision it to be.  And the steadfast gray is to use with some turquoise Mulespun I have in the stash.  Originally the turquoise was for with the black mulespun that my Elysium sweater was made from, but the contrast was too strong.  I think this softer colour will show off the good points of the turquoise (still one of my favourite shades) rather than making it look garish and too bright.  

Time will tell.  There is a heap of yard work to be done this morning.  And laundry is mountainous.  A week of goofing off, watching the rains fall, mourning my river.

 Ah yes.  The rivulet.  Didn't mention that did I?  See the middle of the garden.  Yeah.  River.  

I don't know how we missed this.  The ridge does have shallow spots along the top of it.  Those spots do collect water.  It has to drain somewhere when it overflows.  

Monday, 20 June 2011


a needle pulling thread.  

The vest is ready to steek, but it is going to be a day or two till I get there.  It took days to dry, unaided by the weather.  It has been very very humid around here.  Accumulated inches of humid.  There was a lot of other knitting this weekend too, but it too is going to take days to dry from its blocking.  It isn't ready for photos at all.  

I'd tell you about my garden but it is very wet over there too.  There is a little river running through it, which makes Mr. Needles and I laugh a little. This is why we are moving slow over there.  Unexpected rivulets are, well, expected.

There will be a much better knitting post on the morrow. With actual knitting.  

Thursday, 16 June 2011


We have a vest.  Yes a fully un-functioning unsteeked vest.  

Its beautiful, and my worries about some strands being knit too tight and about gauge and even about sizing were just time wasted. (At least I knit on other things.  It wasn't a total waste.)

 Those tidy rows of Xs and Os tickle my fancy.  I'm even thrilled by the steeking stitches and the tidy rows and columns of alternating colours.  

It will dry tonight, but then I will let it sit for a bit.  Come the weekend, I will sit and have a good long look at the vest again.  I will make sure all the stitches are balanced and that no errors snuck in like a thief in the night, to muck up the pretty patterns.  

Tomorrow I am going to go back to that darned misbehaving sweater.  I have knitting company coming and the long plain stockinette suits the visit just right.


I knit!

I had a marvelous day of knitting yesterday.  I think there is only 1 set of patterning left on Mr. Needles vest.  Much as I love working colourowrk, much as it feels like music in my hands, it is like a song played over long and I am ready to move on to something else.  

Once I get done the colourwork, there still is a lot to do.  There will be a collar band and sleeve bands done in corrugated ribbing.   There will be pocket facings and bands for the tops of pocket.  There will be front button bands in the ribbing as well.  

I intend to close the vest with a zipper. There might be a bit more knitting than I initially planned, to accomplish that, but that is only because in the 2.5 years that I have been working on this vest, I seem to have misplaced the ease I built in.  It will still fit, but rather more closely than he would like his vest to fit.  I think I can get out of this by adding just a little more depth to the button bands, and then knit in a 'lining' in the plain green or the warm brown colour yarn to attach the zipper to.     

I've been looking forward to this part.  It is the perfect time to try out those zipper instructions from last falls Interweave Knits.

I have the tools and a spare tip for the tool, so I am armed and ready.  I just have to finish the knitting.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Not knitting

I didn't get to a whole lot of knitting yesterday.  My FIL is visiting and I ferry him wherever he wants to go.  He doesn't go much, so it isn't a big deal, but even though I have been sitting around a lot, I cannot seem to get in any volume knitting time.

Yesterday was complicated by the nicest thing.  

Several weeks ago, I met an older fellow at the library.  He noticed my spinning wheel, and asked if I might have a need for some fibre.  We talked, I gave him my number and let it be.  His wife called yesterday, so I went by to check it out.  

It's a lot of fibre, ready to spin or quilt and it was an incredibly generous offer for a very nicely prepared fibre.

100% Suffolk fibre, 100% locally grown near Hay Lakes Alberta, locally processed, lovely sheepy goodness.  Now where the heck do I put it all?**

**I have this figured out.  At friends houses! :)

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


Or maybe not desultory.  Maybe it is more disconnected, or busy, or heartsick, or not having long enough to sit still and get down to colourwork?  I don't know. I knit only a very, very little yesterday.  A few rows on an edging.  A few rows on a scarf.  

It might be more of the same today.  The garden gets first dibs on my time.  I should be weeding, but there is a soft rain falling here at home.  I'm heading up to the farm first thing and I'm praying that we have some rain there too.  Right now I need the rain more than I need the weeding done.   

Should it be raining up there (crossing fingers, crossing toes) I am planning on scooting home to knit my heart out.   I would go in to my knit group, but my FIL is here for the week, and I don't want to abandon him.  Of course, he may want me to abandon him so he can have a nice long nap!

If I am lucky, if the stars be with me, I'll have lots of quiet time to knit.  Knitting a good long while will shake out all the clutter from my head and my heart.  Knitting for a good long while will put the universe back on its axis.   

Here is to hoping.  Here is to keeping my fingers crossed.  Here is to a lovely day.

Monday, 13 June 2011

And so it goes

And so it goes.

I was a more or less good knitter while I was off in the wilds.  I did stick to the plan.

I completed one full pattern.  What I am calling a pattern is one peerie repeat and one xoxo section.  I had hoped for more, but one will do.   I anticipate much more knitting on this vest this week now that my head is back in colour work.  There isn't that much left before steeking.  And then button bands, pockets, etc.  Lots of details, but once the patterning is done, it will go fast.

I did  need to add a ball of yarn while I was at the lake.  Time conspired against me. The yarn did not get wound into a cake before we left.  I don't usually mind not using my ball winder but oh how I miss my swift when it isn't there.  I had a challenge on my hands.  One way or another, one simply cannot stay as clean as one usually does.  Feet were out.  Mr. Needles was off fishing so he was out. The rain outside limited me. I could not use the picnic table.

What to do?  

Well I did this.  
It worked really well.  What do you think?  It looked almost human to me.  Maybe its name is Wilson?

It is even adjustable in a way.  If the skein is longer and needs to be a little tighter, all you have to do is tilt one arm higher or lower till the tension is right.  If your skein is shorter...  It isn't going to work all the time, but this time it worked just fine.  

Saturday, 11 June 2011


I know I have spoken many times of my boodle buddies, fans and followers of Joel Achenbach at the Washington  

I cannot explain what it is to have people like these in my life.  I was blessed with a richness beyond compare in knowing them.  They made a bad time in my life better and gave me the strength to move on.  They challenged me, pushed me, prodded me and made me be better.  They led me to knitting and in a lot of ways, saved my soul.  They were my hope when I had none.

To my deepest sorrow, one of us has inexplicably lost her way.  

Dear heart, may you be where the peacefulness is so big it dazes you.  

Friday, 10 June 2011

By the time you read this...

As usual, I celebrate the arrival of summer, by heading to where it is colder. By the time you read this, I will be un-thawing.  I will likely be sitting in the van, urging Mr Needles to turn up the heat, and will be well on my way home from a trip to the high country.  The weather forecast has been dismal.  

I anticipate absolute misery broken only by coffee and a small fire (if the fire bans have have been lifted in that part of the province). Otherwise I anticipate sheer and total misery with my coffee {and yes, I can drink coffee.  I am not home, so I can have coffee.  If I didn't have my coffee, trust me, misery does not describe it})    

Long Johns.  Check.  Heavy Wool socks.  Check.  Warm wool sweaters, vests and multiple scarves.  Check. Toques. Check.  Mittens - 2 layers.  Check.

Hmmm, I hope I tossed some extra blankets in there.  Maybe a couple of sleeping bags too.  

Still, after a week of this, I relish un-thawing.  

And sticking to the plan, I should be able to report significant progress on this,   
but because I know the high country in the early summer, I'm packing some of this.  
It isn't wool, but it is heavy and the blanket will be tightly knit, and will be dense and warm.  It is also garter stitch.  Garter stitch is great, particularly when all you can think about is how cold you are, and when your fingers are too stiff to do anything complicated. 

But, by the time you read this, I should be un-thawing.  If it is Saturday and you are reading this, I'm back at the farm, weeding.  Farming never stops and even if we have not had a drop of rain, the weeds still seem to grow.   But I will be warmer.  That is a given.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Knitting for the wrong season

I know I have said it before.  I ought to be knitting for summer in January and winter in June.  That way, the things I start will be ready to wear when the season arrives.  

Instead of thinking about those light, cool to the skin yarns, I really ought to be thinking of warmer things.  Things like this

From left to right, top row and clockwise, Harrisville Flax and Wool, Cascade Eco +, Noro Silver Thaw, Cascade Eco, Needful Yarns London Tweed, and several colours of Briggs and Little Regal.  These are yarns that I like to think of as substantial sweater yarns.  They are not all heavy weight, in fact most of them don't go outside the 4 or medium weight category, but they all will make substantial warm sweaters.  

I have many more options.  Plotulopi, Royal Tweed, Mission Falls, Prairie Wool,   RCY Aran,  Berroco Remix, Ultra  Alpaca.  These are just the yarns I can see as I sit here at my desk.  I am blessed with a very lovely stash.  A lovely, lovely stash.  

It might be a while till one of these gorgeous things jumps up and demands to be knit first, though now that I think of it, there are the occasional whispers that are heard outside the closet.  

Though my 'what to knit next' dreams are all warmer weather wear, I know all too well, that much of Canada is a place where sweater weather is only as far away as sunset.   Wool.  Keep it close at hand.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


And this is what I am dreaming of.  
And these
I'll be swatching these.

And then there is this.  
What about something like this for the green yarns I talked about a few days ago?  I think I am going to try swatching them up in pattern just to see what they will look like.  

I'm not knitting anything new.  Oh no.  I am being a very good girl, standing in a corner, being ladylike, biding my time till its time to knit  on the KAL sweater again.

But I can dream, can't I. 

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


I am taking a one week break and only a one week break from that darned sweater and I will not swear (out loud) and I will behave like a lady (in public) when speaking about said sweater.

In consolation, I dug this out of the basket and am having a really good time.  All Clapotis are a really good time.  Simple knitting.  No brainwork required so long as you use a lot of stitch markers.  Hypnotic?  Yes. What's not to love?

I will also console myself with Persuasion.  In it, Jane Austen affirms that even a love lost can be renewed if that love be true.

Updated to add:  I was watering the garden yesterday.  I have vegetables!  Not all are up yet, but some things are peeking through.  There is always the smallest tension before the plants come up.  Did you do it right?  Were the seeds good?  Will all my hard work be worth it?  Small tension, with a big reward.

Hey it sounds a lot like knitting! 

Monday, 6 June 2011

In the Matter of:


Plantiff:  The Knitter


Defendant:  KAL Sweater at Edmonton Knitters Group
 as hosted by Ravelry

The plantiffs case:
1.  That the defense has completely dropped the ball and not kept its end of the knitting bargain.
2.  The knitter asks the court that the plaintiff be tossed into a corner, never to be looked at again.

The plaintiff rests.

The defense:  
1.  That the plaintiff did, on 31 May, 2011, frog back to reknit a portion of the defendant.
2.  The plaintiff is responsible for any and all events pursuant to the decision to frog stitches up to and including dropping of stitch markers from established positions.
3.  The defendant did not at anytime misbehave during said process. 
4.  The plaintiff is a numbskull.

Exhibit 1:

Exhibit 2:

If it pleases the court, the defendant respectfully requests that all members of the jury count the stitches between the stitch markers in each photograph,  known by the plaintiff as left side of chest and right side of chest, stitches which have been appointed to be short rowed to form proper darts for frontage.

The defense rests. 

Verdict:  The plaintiff is an idiot.

Sentence:  The plaintiff, also known as the knitter, will go to a corner and will not stamp her feet, will keep her language clean and will be noble, gracious and ladylike.  And she will not shed any tears.

But she doesn't have to knit on said KAL project for one whole week.    

Friday, 3 June 2011

May Socks

Up till now I have not talked about May socks.  I have not worked on the May socks in weeks.  I don't need them you see.  When I decided to start knitting one pair of socks a month, it was because I was always running out.  Now that I am home all the time, my laundry is kept up better, and my drawer runneth over.  

I could make them for Mr. Needles I suppose, but there are too many other things on my plate.  All I have to do is look at the basket beside me with its many many WIPs and I know there are too many other things on my plate.

Every once in a while, I contemplate the idiocy of sticking so much to WIP's.  They are such nice projects though and I really would like to have them to use.  I know I will feel much better about the pile when it isn't there, when the WIP basket actually contains things that I am working on, rather than things that I have not touched in months.  This volume of WIPs are  a weight I am tired of carrying.

There are so many dreams of different things in my head.  I will not start them, not even one, till the Shetland Shawl is done, but it occurs to me that sometimes even dreams weigh you down and distort clarity and focus.   

I will stick with what I am doing, really I will.  I will not slip into something new no matter how much I want to.  I will persevere.  Darn it all.

Don't you just hate it when you get all noble and stick to the plan?


Thursday, 2 June 2011

Nature, taking its course.

Once again, almost a week has gone by with several cloudy days and the smell of rain showers in the air, but nary a drop of rain falling anywhere near here.  Many many places in Canada, including the prairie are having water problems of an excess nature, but we are having a drought.  

So today I am off to the farm, water jugs in hand, a a few good ideas to make the task of watering the beast of a garden just a little easier.  I also will be planting the cabbage, cauliflower and tomatoes today.  It might yet freeze and they will have no shelter, but at some point you just have to get on with it, plant them and let nature take its course.  If nature decides you are not going to have tomatoes, well, there it is.

Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Nothing Much = Eminently Fulfilling.

Yesterday I did a little of everything.

I cleaned my house, but not all of it.  I watered plants, but some of them didn't need it, so I skipped those.  I knit a little on the lovely red scarf.  I frogged back on the teal top to where I needed to be to insert the first of the taupe stripes, picked up the stitches and knit precisely one round to make sure everything was seated right and that I was ready to go.  I made a simple dinner for some company and visited and had a lovely time.  I read a little Persuasion as I lay down to sleep.

A nothing much sort of day and yet it was eminently fulfilling. 

The single most exciting thing of the day was the pleasant discovery of this:

 Old fashioned Woody's Sasparilla.

Not for kids, but for kids at heart.  Perfect for the sort of day it was.  Eminently fulfilling.